Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Committee, today met with Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski and the Grand Forks Base Mission Support Committee to outline his work to support the Grand Forks Air Force Base (GFAFB), including:
·Passing the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), with provisions to:
o Block the retirement of the Global Hawk fleet.
o Secure an Air Force report on infrastructure requirements for the Arctic mission, which will help build the case for using GFAFB to support the Arctic mission.
·Working to pass a full-year defense and military construction appropriations bill that includes language:
o Blocking retirement of the Global Hawk fleet.
o To support and enhance the Block 40 Global Hawk fleet.
“The Grand Forks Air Force Base’s Global Hawk mission provides vital defense intelligence and surveillance to keep our nation safe,” said Hoeven. “Given the increasing importance of good intel, we’re working to ensure the Grand Forks Air Force Base has the support and resources necessary to be successful now and into the future. I appreciate this opportunity to meet with the Grand Forks Base Mission Committee to discuss our efforts to bolster the Global Hawk fleet and look for new missions, including future unmanned aircraft missions, opportunities in the Arctic and with the new Space Force.”
In addition to Hoeven’s provision in the NDAA requiring Air Force to report on infrastructure requirements for the Arctic mission, the senator has repeatedly made the case to Air Force leadership that GFAFB is well-positioned to fulfill critical roles within the Arctic mission. The senator has highlighted the base’s Global Hawk mission, which can provide significant intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities in the region, as well as its ability to house future USAF assets as they transit to and from the Arctic.
In 2014, Hoeven led a delegation to NORTHCOM headquarters and hosted the former NORTHCOM Commander in North Dakota in 2017. Hoeven also advanced provisions in the FY2020 NDAA requiring a report on China and Russia’s activities in the Arctic, as well as a report to outline how Northern Tier bases, like Minot and Grand Forks, can be utilized to advance U.S. interests in the region.
Last month, Hoeven met with Gen. John Raymond, chief of staff for the U.S. Space Force, to outline opportunities for the GFAFB and Cavalier Air Force Station to assist in standing up the new branch of the armed forces. Additionally, he stressed the University of North Dakota’s partnerships with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Defense, which could be leveraged to help meet the technology and workforce development needs of the Space Force.